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Dead-end memories : stories
OverDrive Inc.  Eaudiobook
2022
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Library Journal Reviews

Yoshimoto's (Moshi Moshi) bittersweet short story collection, first published in Japan in 2003, is now available in audio and print for English-speaking audiences. Delicately translated by Yoneda, each of Yoshimoto's five stories centers on young professional Japanese women whose encounters with misfortune, betrayal, and grief force them to re-examine past relationships and contend with new visions for their futures. In "House of Ghosts," two college students forge a connection, first motivated by food and later cemented by two ghosts who inhabit a soon-to-be demolished apartment. In "Mama!," a near-fatal case of intentional food poisoning causes a book editor to see her relationship with her mother and her fiancé in a new light. Unfortunately, while these stories are nuanced and affecting, narrator Kathleen Li fails to tap into the gentle lyricism of Yoshimoto's prose. Li's plodding cadence and overly emphasized pronunciation of Japanese words may draw listeners out of the story. Male voices seem forced, and female voices are too similar to distinguish. VERDICT Short story readers and fans of Yoshimoto's work will find much to love, but this powerful collection that may be better experienced in print than in audio.—Sarah Hashimoto

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